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James Martin (chef)

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For other people named James Martin, see James Martin (disambiguation).
James Martin (chef)
James Martin at the Good Food Show Winter 2014.jpg
Martin at the Good Food Show winter 2014
Born James Martin
(1972-06-30) 30 June 1972 (age 42)
Malton, North Riding of Yorkshire, England

James Martin (born 30 June 1972 in Malton, North Riding of Yorkshire), is an English chef who first appeared on television in 1996.

Early life[edit]

Martin's family were farmers on the Castle Howard estate and he helped his mother in the kitchen, which started his interest in cuisine. He lived in Welburn, attended Amotherby School in Malton and Malton School, the local comprehensive where he was a member of the school rugby and cricket teams, but did not enjoy academic subjects due to undiagnosed dyslexia.[1]

He went on to study catering at Scarborough Technical College. He trained at Hostellerie De Plaisance, Saint-Émilion, France. He then worked at the 3 Michelin star restaurant Maison Troisgros in Roanne, France before moving on to join the staff of Anthony Worrall Thompson's 'One Ninety Queen's Gate' restaurant in Kensington, London.[1]

Martin subsequently moved on to Alastair Little in Soho, London, 2 Michelin star restaurant The Square in Mayfair, London and another 2 Michelin star restaurant, Harvey’s, in Wandsworth, London.[citation needed]

After this he spent two years as a Pastry Chef at Chewton Glen Hotel.[2]

At the age of 22, Martin set up the Hotel du Vin in Winchester as Head Chef.[1]

Television career[edit]

He first appeared on television in 1996 with programmes including "James Martin: Yorkshire's Finest" (set in various Yorkshire locations with an emphasis on Yorkshire cuisine), Ready Steady Cook and The Big Breakfast.

In 2005, Martin was partnered with Camilla Dallerup in Strictly Come Dancing, a celebrity ballroom dancing TV show, coming fourth.

Martin co-presented BBC Food's "Stately Suppers" with Alistair Appleton, and then appeared on the Channel 4 programme Richard & Judy, where he would visit a member of the public in their own home who had been nominated to be cooked a 'comfort food' meal. In 2006 he became the presenter of the BBC 1 show Saturday Kitchen.

In 2007, he starred in a BBC 2 series named Sweet Baby James (named in reference to the James Taylor song) in which he focused on desserts, puddings and cakes.[3]

Martin appeared on Blue Peter in April 2007 on Can You Cook It? as a judge choosing the new Blue Peter "Junior Chef".[4]

In June and July 2007, he appeared co-hosting The Great British Village Show on BBC 1. He finished off the year with a series on UKTV Food called James Martin's Christmas Feasts.[citation needed]

He filmed a 30 part series for the BBC in 2007 called Eating with the Enemy which was broadcast in July and August 2008.[5]

In September 2011, James was tasked with revamping the menu and catering facilities at Scarborough General Hospital, for Operation Hospital Food for the BBC.[6] The show was recommissioned for a second[7] and third series [8] which were shown on BBC1 in 2013 and 2014 respectively.[9]

In December 2012 [10] Racing Legends with Sir Jackie Stewart aired on BBC2. Martin interviewed Sir Jackie Stewart, about his life and career whilst the pair drove through the Alps in a Pantera supercar. He also drove his Tyrell Formula One car around the Monza race circuit.[11]

In February and March 2013 Martin presented United Cakes of America show. Throughout the 15 episode series Martin travelled 634 miles along America’s East Coast, sampling 234 cakes and five bags of pretzels with the production crew along the way.[12]

In June 2013, The Roux Scholarship was shown on Watch. Martin joined the judging panel along with other celebrity chefs including Rick Stein, Raymond Blanc and Angela Hartnett.[13]

In July 2013,[14] Martin appeared alongside Angela Hartnett and Richard Corrigan on BBC1 on a special edition of The Great British Menu entitled The Great British Budget Menu. The show aimed to highlight food poverty and involved the chefs cooking nutritious meals on a budget.

In September 2013,[15] the programme James Martin's Food Map of Britain aired on BBC2. There were 10 episodes with each focusing on a different region of Britain. James investigated the produce of each area and cooked two dishes per episode.

In February 2014,[16] based in his kitchen at home in Hampshire, he presented the series James Martin: Home Comforts on BBC 1. Many of the dishes were inspired by memories of his childhood in Yorkshire, and the programme also featured many local small-scale food producers and cooks.

James filmed the series 'Meet the Street' for BBC 1 in October 2014. The show aims to unite communities and reduce loneliness. Each episode James is joined by a different celebrity. The duo then return to the street the celebrity grew up on. Celebrities who feature on the show include Dominic Littlewood, Denise Lewis, Dave Myers, Alex Jones and Helen Skelton.


Until 2013 Martin wrote a motoring column for UK newspaper the Mail on Sunday.

In 2009, Martin wrote in his column that he deliberately drove an electric Tesla Roadster in a manner that startled two cyclists causing a "look of sheer terror as they tottered into the hedge". Following criticism from cycling groups and professionals such as Bradley Wiggins and Stuart O'Grady, he apologised for the statements. Complaints said that the driving was illegal and dangerous.[17][18][19]


Martin opened his restaurant, called "The Leeds Kitchen", inside the Alea Casino in Leeds in 2011. The casino, and with it the restaurant, closed in March 2013.[20]

In 2012 he opened a restaurant inside The Talbot Hotel, Malton, North Yorkshire. The restaurant was placed in the Michelin Guide at the end of 2012. In June 2013 it was reviewed by food critic Jay Rayner for the Observer who described his meal there as "three beautifully poised, close to faultless dishes".[21]

In September 2013,[22] Martin opened his restaurant James Martin Manchester, specialising in modern British cuisine.



In 2010, Martin was awarded the title of Honorary Professor by the University of West London, London School of Hospitality and Tourism along with Michel Roux OBE, Raymond Blanc and Anton Mosimann OBE.

On 10 June 2013, Martin was honoured with The Craft Guild of Chefs Special Award.[23]

Personal life[edit]

Martin likes performance cars, and entered a vintage Maserati in the 2008 Mille Miglia.[24] This was televised on 28 December 2008. He failed to complete the race due to a dropped valve and broken crank.

Martin raced in the 2013 Masters Series in an Appendix K 1964 Mini Cooper S. On 23 June 2013 he took his first race win at the Brands Hatch Mini Festival, becoming the 2013 Champion of Mini Festival[25]

Martin also raced a "works" GT Aston Martin at the Aston Martin Centenary Festival in July 2013 where he achieved a position of 9th out of 30 racers.[26]

In 2009, Martin passed his Private Pilot Licence.

Martin has two dogs named Fudge and Ralph.[27]


  1. ^ a b c Daily Mail Weekend Interview. 7 July 2012, p6
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  4. ^ "Can you cook it?". BBC. Retrieved 18 November 2009. 
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  17. ^ "Martin sorry over cycling article". BBC News Online. 16 September 2009. 
  18. ^ "TV Chef James Martin Cooks Up A Storm With Anti-cycling Remarks". BikeRadar. 14 September 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  19. ^ Martin, James (12 September 2009). "The Tesla Roadster is the all-electric supercar that's as fast as a Ferrari". London: Daily Mail.  (The Daily Mail website does not show the text in question.)
  20. ^ "Alea Leeds Clarence Dock casino to close". Yorkshire Evening Post. 5 March 2013. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  21. ^ The Talbot Hotel: restaurant review
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  24. ^ "BBC Two - The Real Italian Job: James Martin's Mille Miglia". BBC. 30 September 2012. Retrieved 1 April 2013. 
  26. ^ Race reports and results - Aston Martin Challenge website
  27. ^ Belsey, John. "Classic Cars à la Carte – the Chef’s Selection – by John Belsey". The Vintage Magazine. The Vintage Magazine. Retrieved 24 November 2014. 

External links[edit]